IndustriALL's director for sustainability Brian Kohler blogs from day four of the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), 10 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The good news is that Just Transition has become a common talking point at this COP. That is quite a leap forward from a few years ago when we could barely get any of the Parties (governments) to discuss it. The bad news is that few of those using the phrase understand it; or they wish to use it to attain goals that have nothing to do with social justice for today’s or tomorrow’s workers.
The main and most important area in which Just Transition could be operationalized, is in the discussions on “response measures” and that is therefore where we have concentrated our strongest efforts. Trade unions have successfully lobbied some governments to support our case. Notably Canada, and the Nordic countries, and a few others, have supported Just Transition measures. The USA too has shown support, although with the election of Donald Trump that may change rapidly. The proposed establishment of an expert committee on Just Transition measures has not yet been decided.
In other discussions, raising the level of ambition to limit global warming to less than 1.5 Celsius degrees has received some discussion, as has the structure of accountability and verification processes for the Nationally Determined Contributions. Related to this, the First Global Stocktake needs to develop a robust information gathering and verification process. Finance, too, is the subject of heated discussions.
Access to some of the discussions has become an issue, as the Parties have become more and more fond of closed meetings, even though the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC process guarantees access to observer organizations, as far as possible.